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China's friends are few and unreliable

Beijing maintains zero alliances, and its partnerships are mostly with pariah states

| China
Xi attempts to shake hands with Putin during a meeting in Moscow in June 2019: they remain deeply suspicious of each other.   © Reuters

Derek Grossman is a senior defense analyst at the nonprofit, nonpartisan Rand Corporation. He formerly served as an adviser at the Pentagon.

Amid escalating competition, China and the United States are actively shoring up their diplomatic relationships in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Such partnerships confer significant advantages, from military base access to favorable political outcomes, as well as potential trade opportunities.

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